Tuesday, June 21, 2016


by Leigh

 “Summer: Hair gets lighter. Skin gets darker. Water gets warmer. Drinks get colder. Music gets louder. Nights get longer. Life gets better.” – Unknown
Happy summer everyone! Since yesterday was the first official day of summer I thought to myself....why not do a summertime post...seems easy enough.  I began to go through my archives on Flickr (I miss Flicker...don't you?) I came across images that just screamed summer....like the cool frosty cerveza and lime in the shot above.  I remember the day I shot that...sitting on my back porch enjoying that beer.  I had just recently gotten a macro lens and was having fun shooting...not really knowing what I was doing....just shooting. And that frosty cold one was a perfect first subject.  As I scrolled through my photostream memories began to flood back. Every photo told a story. And that's when it hit me....I recognized these images but I didn't recognize the photographer who took them.  I don't...can't take shots like these anymore.

I didn't expect emotions like this.  This was supposed to be a fun in the sun kind of post.  Instead I got sad.  Looking at these photos makes me long to be that photographer again..to know her again.  The one who told stories and didn't worry so much about technical aspects of the photo.  When I clicked the shutter it was out of pure joy and feeling and emotion and connection.  I still feel that sometimes when I take photos with my phone, but when I pick up my camera it feels contrived...forced. I want to feel that connection again with my camera.  How do I go back?

No really....that wasn't a rhetorical question.  How do I get back to the place I once was?  Does anyone else feel this way?  I know that we continually grow in our craft and things change.  It's inevitable. Maybe it's about more than just photography....maybe it's self discovery.  But how can I move forward when all I want to do is go back?

I guess in the meantime this will become my new mantra.
"You will recognize your own path when you come upon it, because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you will ever need." ~Jerry Gillies


AFishGirl said...

Come back to Flickr, come back! For me, it's a perfect antidote to the fleetingness of IG (and I'm just speaking for myself, IG rattles me, way too fast). I'm also not a FB fan. But IG, you can make your own albums and see the body of your work with ease. I think a daily practice is ideal and let's not forget the joy that was the "Picture" series, it was about community and fun and waking up to a prompt with gusto and enthusiasm. I also think printing shots (just ask the PL people here) is a wonderful way to use the photographs we take, to tell the little stories that go with them, to pause in the busyness and mayhem that seem to be the world at present, and sit quietly creating. Don't knock me off my soap box yet. I hear what you are saying about the technical aspect, how the more we learn the less easy it is to simply take a shot and not fuss too much with the taking. I think the key to freeing up your joy with it is going on little photo day trips, pack one lens (50 mm!!!!) and take shots of things that you would not usually shoot. Go back to the old exercises. Lay on the ground and shoot upwards. Do some blur shots. Track some action. And photograph yourself, I think self-portraiture is one of the most healing and forgiving practices we can take up. Plus, then you'll set up shots with the kids where YOU get in with them. Be IN those shots with the people you love. And yeah, put them on Flickr. Come back to Flickr. Pretty please. Okay, stepping off my soap box. oxoxoxoxxox

Carol said...

I do recognize the feeling Kelly. And it must be twice as strong for you with daily postings -thats a lot of material. But dont forget thatbyou are creating your own community too. I agree with a lot of what Pam says. Especially the outings. When I am am out shooting in a new place with friends, it feels more like fun and vacation and than tehnicality. And when I get home, I immediately sit down to pick out my best 10 and send them off to the people I was with. Maybe take a class and find some local photo buddies. Once every month or two is pleany in our busy schedules -but it wakes you up! Also agree with series-making and printing. I do miss the prompts a lot -I am regaining some of that in my sketching class, and I had forgotten how much fun it is to think about your post all day. Photography always will come first for me though, and Im looking for websites where I can enjoy posting again.
I also think that its time and "progress" The internet never stays the same. There are rumors a out Flickr, and the kids have moved on to syory telling web places that I havent even looked at yet, but I hear that IG is not their only option. Maybe they need some of us old, creaky folk invading there??

Dotti said...

I could have written this post, Leigh! Seriously. You know those memory posts that FB sends to you? Very often, mine are old posts from Camper and yesterday was a link to a post on FOL from 2014. Lately I've looked at my photos and thought, "Did I take those photos? Where has that photographer gone?" It's a very depressing thought. This post and the comments have helped bring some clarity to mind. Community is one key, I'm sure of it. Some of it has to do with laziness. Yes, I mean that. There are times I see something and say, "OH!" But I'm too lazy to go get my Canon. The bad side of iPhones? They have made us lazy. We no longer carry our dslr cameras everywhere we go. Remember those days? Chances are, when you were drinking that beer, your dslr was right there at your side. If you were to sit out on your patio tonight with a beer, where would your camera be? And I'm including myself in all these pronouncements. We've lost the spark. The energy. I can't wait to hear from others to see what their experiences are but these are the top of my head thoughts this morning. Great topic, Leigh. I hope we get good discussion going on here and on FB.

terriporter said...

Yes, yes, yes to all you've said, Leigh! And I know exactly how you feel looking at those old photos and getting sad. And I agree with Pam that the more we learn the less we just grab our camera and shoot. We think about it too much! And as everybody said, those daily prompts made us pick up our cameras. I miss them. When we closed down Prompt Addicts, I told myself I was going to become more active on Flickr but I have yet to do that. And I agree with Dotti that shooting with our phones has made us lazy. I know I'm always happiest with the shots I take with my DSLR. So let's dedicate this summer as a time to pick up those big cameras again and shoot with abandon, capturing all the wonder that is summer. And let's share them with each other on Flickr! You may have started something with this post, Leigh!

kelly said...

oh Leigh, I think you've hit a nerve here with everyone. There was so magic in that time of discovery. It was part discipline from the daily shooting (a certain kind of presence and mindfulness), but also it was the community and friendships that were evolving. I have to agree with Pam that IG does not invite the same kind of connection - there used to be!...but it seems like now (for me anyway) IG invites a lot of unhealthy comparison and hustle. To that end, I have made a conscious effort to step WAY back from IG and FB.

I do believe Leigh that we can get back to that place of magic and discovery and connection. Let's start today. xoxoxo

CarolHart said...

This is a great post Leigh. I do agree that sometimes the technical aspect of photography can get in the way. I also think that circumstances in our lives affect our craft. My husband had a stroke a couple of weeks ago. I didn't pick up my camera or even think about my phone camera for a week. However once I got my man home from the hospital and we settled into a routine I began taking pictures again. However, while taking the pictures, I really felt out of it... like I was disconnected with myself. It all felt foreign and uncomfortable. The surprise was when I brought those images into Lightroom... they were lovely, really nice work...but it made me feel like someone else had taken the photographs. I'm slowly but surely getting reconnected with myself, but it is a slow go. I've come to the conclusion that first and foremost...we need to be kind to ourselves. We need to take it slow. All of the work we've ever done reflects some aspect of ourselves. All those parts of us are still within us. So, the photographer who took that shot of the lime in the beer is still within you Leigh, but other voices inside you want to be heard too. Be kind to yourself, be patient with yourself, and trust your judgement.

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